Sex Discrimination in the Workplace

A recent TUC survey has revealed that more than half (52%) of women and nearly two thirds (63%) of women aged 18-24 years old have experienced sexual harassment at work.

It is extremely disappointing that in 2016 there are still a significant number of women experiencing sexual harassment in the workplace and, more worringly, that 4 out of 5 of these women were not in a position to tell their employer about what had happened.

Employees are protected by the law and therefore if you feel that you are a victim of discrimination, here are some tips to follow:

  1. Firstly, keep a written record of the discrimination. This could range from unwelcome jokes and comments to touching and sexual advances. It is an idea to keep notes or even better a diary. Sex discrimination is subjective and therefore any action you feel harassed by should be written down and raised.

  2. In addition to keeping records, you should speak to your line manager about the offending incident. I appreciate that this may not always be possible if it is this individual that is causing the problem. If this is the case then speak to someone you can trust in a position of authority.

  3. An employer owes a duty of care to protect an employee and therefore should take these concerns seriously and act upon them.

  4. If the incidents continue or the employer takes no action then it may become  necessary to raise a grievance with your employer. This is basically a letter of complaint setting out the harassment.

  5. Your employer should then fully investigate your complaint and hopefully rectify the problems you are having. Your employer should have a policies and procedures handbook which will give you guidance on the process to follow which would include appealing if you are unhappy with the outcome.  If you are unsure whether such a policy is in place then speak to your HR department or manager.

    Your employer should then fully investigate your complaint and hopefully rectify the problems you are having. Your employer should have a policies and procedures handbook which will give you guidance on the process to follow which would include appealing if you are unhappy with the outcome.  If you are unsure whether such a policy is in place then speak to your HR department or manager complaint setting out the harassment.

  6. Finally, if you have exhausted all internal procedures then it is always an option to pursue a claim at the Employment Tribunal. This claim needs to be made within 3  months of the last incident.

  7. Employment Tribunals, are not like the court rooms you see on TV. They are much more informal and accessible to the public.If a claim to the Employment Tribunal is successful then the Tribunal have the power to order compensation and the discretion to make recommendations for the employer which includes training and updating policies and procedures.

If you are experiencing any form of discrimination within the workplace and require advice then do not hesitate to contact Louise Neville or a member of the employment team on 01254 872272.